BUTTE – Two airlines want to be Butte’s essential air service and officials at the Bert Mooney Airport couldn’t be happier.
“For the first time in 30 years, we’ve had two airlines competing for coming to Butte. It shows that there’s a potential solution for us just beyond a single flight to Salt Lake City,” said Airport Authority Board Member JR Hansen.
The two competing airlines are the current air service SkyWest, with flights to Salt Lake City and United Airlines offering a flight to Denver.
The Airport Authority Board recommended SkyWest because it was the preferred service taken from a public survey, but the Department of Transportation will make the final decision.
“United Airlines did underbid SkyWest by approximately $52,000, so based on that as well as the business case of why United feels they can provide this service better and grow the Butte air service with the Denver hub, the Department of Transportation will take all that into consideration,” said Hansen.
Regardless of who gets the contract, Butte will still try to entice the other airline to also provide an air service out of the Bert Mooney Airport by a local campaign to raise about $200,000 guaranteed revenue.
“Butte can help by going to the flybutte.com Website and contribute through that website as well as talk to friends and family about contributing to that,” said Airport Manager Pam Chamberlin.
Airport officials say it will be a great benefit to Butte’s economy if they get two airlines flying out of the Bert Mooney Airport.
“Not only will it provide better air service it will be better for the community as far as economic development if we have a second airline in here. It would be a win-win for everybody in the community and the surrounding area,” said Chamberlin.
The Department of Transportation is expected to make a decision on the airport’s essential air service provider in the next few weeks.
Reporting by John Emeigh for MTN News